Metropolis still hasn't figured out that Clark Kent is Superman, even though they both have the same face. Luckily, New Yorkers are a lot smarter than that, fully appreciating that right next-door to best-in-city Murray's Cheese Shop is the similarly named Murray's Cheese Bar, which takes the pristine product from its sibling and serves it in fully realized creations like cheese drenched burgers, fondue and three versions of mac and cheese. It can be hard to decide among the unadorned, the pulled pork and the seasonally changing option that adds goodies like lamb meatballs and chorizo. To keep all the bubbling goodness intact, Murray’s serves it in a mini cast iron pan, usually topped with a fried onion garnish. The three cheese blend in the high octane classic rendition is a secret, but the only secret you really need to know is where to get it. You're welcome.
- Latest Review for Murray's Cheese Bar -
It’s no secret that barbecue joints make some of the best mac and cheese in the country, and for two reasons. Cooking low and slow leaves a lot of time to tinker with recipes while the meats advance unfussed with in the smoker. The other reason? Competitive drive to make it truly stand out, and this one did just that. The strong cheddar flavor and velvety creaminess make it a rendition that Adam Richman not only called “transcendental” but also placed in his list of five “not to be missed” meals on a Today Show appearance a few years back. The extra grated cheese on top gets extra crusty under the broiler, giving the dish a dual texture that’s hard to resist.
- Latest Review for Slows Bar-B-Q -
Good Dog Bar across town gets frequent mentions for its corn flake topping, but why sit at the kid’s table for an extra breakfast when you can advance straight to dinner, with a baked version topped with a garlic bread crust and chunks of bacon? What’s under the lid isn’t so bad either: luxuriously coated pasta as silky as the name over the door. It’s a full bodied version that could easily suffice as dinner.
- Latest Review for Silk City Diner -
This badass burger joint made its name on the creative 10-ounce burgers named after heavy metal rock bands, but the mac and cheese is not to be missed. The build-your-own format lets you add complementary ingredients like sun-dried tomato, bacon, Andouille sausage, garlic and green onion. Those extras uplift it from the kiddie version we all grew up on, but the ever present gooiness factor keeps you a kid at heart through every bite.
- Latest Review for Kuma's Corner -
The key to this rendition’s greatness is the drunken goat cheese imported from Murcia, Spain. It’s cured in red wine, giving it a unique flavor that already had a head start with the choice of animal. Blended with sharp Cheddar, Tabasco, fresh nutmeg, dry mustard and Worcestershire, it brings an orchestra of contrasting players (heavy, salty, sharp, nutty, tart, spicy) that all play in tune. Imagine the gooiness of pizza cheese, but with ten times the flavor. The portion is a bit on the small side, but with a dish this rich, that can sometimes be a good thing.
- Latest Review for Blue Plate -
This James Beard award winning restaurant is all about the Southern fried chicken, but what good is fried chicken without mac and cheese? Still pretty darn good, but play along. Founder John Kunkel leverages the twisted potato chip shape of torchio pasta to catch every drop of a brilliant five cheese blend comprised of medium-sharp cheddar, Swiss, Grayson, Red Leicester and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Lest you become overwhelmed with the tidal wave of cheesiness, he adds bread crumbs and chives for flavor and texture balance. It’s heaped so generously into the baking dish that the overflow is practically begging you to take that first forkful.
- Latest Review for Yardbird Southern Table & Bar -
It’s like you’re on a field trip at this Pike Place shop where you get to see the cheese being made behind glass. If that doesn’t get you in the mood to devour some of the country’s best mac and cheese, the time spent in line will. Its backbone is the signature Flagship cheese aged for 15 months to yield a complex flavor with the nuttiness of Gouda and the strength of Cheddar. Combined with Just Jack, spices and garlic, then intermingled with ridged penne pasta, it completes one of the simpler presentations that happens to be one of the best. The cheese flavor is relentless.
- Latest Review for Beecher’s Handmade Cheese -
Here’s another entry from a barbecue joint, but it makes the list more on chutzpah than innate creaminess. At this North Carolina style eatery that specializes in pork plucked off whole hogs, the space and the equipment are limited, so a waffle iron is utilized to serve the mac and cheese hot. To compensate for the loss of moisture, they serve it with a rich herbed queso and hot sauce, allowing a do-it-yourself approach whose mixing and dunking get it just right by the time it hits your mouth. Mac and cheese as fun finger food – who knew?
- Latest Review for Arrogant Swine -
Remember that episode of Triple D when Kid Rock accompanied Guy Fieri in the red Camaro? Well if you don’t, that means you didn’t see it, because Clarkston Union's bowl of mac and cheese with a crust as bumpy and crunchy as peanut brittle isn’t something you’re likely to forget. They had it at Clarkston Union, where the legendary mac and cheese is available in two sizes, with or without ham. Grooved penned gets a liberal coating of a cheese sauce made with Parmesan, heavy cream, garlic and nutmeg. It’s arranged parfait style, with a layer of mild Pinconning cheese slices (aged, similar to Colby) separating two layers of the coated pasta. The whole thing gets topped with Cheddar and panko crumbs before baking to melt it all together into crunchy, creamy perfection.
- Latest Review for Clarkston Union Bar & Kitchen -
When you win the Charleston Mac Off year after year, you know you’re doing something right. Chef Landen Ganstrom originally fashioned his award-winning mac and cheese recipe as a bouquet for his fiancée, who was as devoted to the stuff as he was to her. In addition to a Cheddar that’s aged ten years, the cheese blend calls for Parmesan, mozzarella and a "secret ingredient" suggested by his daughter. The pasta of choice is cavatappi, whose ridges grab that cheese sauce as enthusiastically as you will.
- Latest Review for Crave Kitchen & Cocktails -